Cooperstown native Kristi Ough is scooping out a new, sweet career.
The 45-year-old Edmeston resident said she left more than 20 years of restaurant work at the Blue Mingo Grill to launch Abner’s Cabin, a roadside ice cream stand at 110 Seminary Road in Milford. Ough also works full time as a realtor with Howard Hanna.
Plans for the ice-cream stand, Ough said, began about a year ago.
“Last fall, we thought, ‘Hey, there’s this mobile cabin for sale’ and I thought it would be a cute little ice-cream cabin, so we did it,” she said. “It was questionable whether we were going to open or not with the (Cooperstown) Dreams Park closed, so it was the 25th of July by the time we got through the permits.”
Ough said community members and visitors appreciate having a place to satisfy their sweet tooth.
“Nobody else opened, so locals are very happy,” she said. “Everything’s been great. We just did Facebook and Instagram (for advertising), and that’s all we’ve needed to do.”
Offering high-quality hard and soft-serve ice cream, Ough said, has spurred customers’ enthusiasm.
“Our hard serve is all homemade from Gilligan’s in Sherburne, and it’s phenomenal ice cream,” she said. “And for soft serve, I’m actually doing a custard, so it’s a higher buttermilk fat content, so it’s a thicker, creamer product. The custard is Perry’s soft serve, from Huff.
“So, I think (the customer base) is a little bit wider,” Ough said, “because people are very familiar with the Gilligan’s (brand), so we’ve had many customers stop and say, ‘We’re glad we don’t have to drive to Sherburne for this,’ and we get a lot of out-of-towners, because we’ve got the campground right up the hill.”
Abner’s Cabin, Ough said, typically carries 16 Gilligan’s flavors; vanilla and chocolate soft serve and vanilla-chocolate twists; sundaes; milk shakes; and root beer and “creamsicle” floats. In late August, Ough said, she began featuring liquor-inspired hard flavors such as maple whiskey, vanilla bourbon, Kahlua, Bailey’s and Fireball.
“It’s a cute little shop and we serve it all,” she said. “And I’ve been making waffle cones like crazy. I’ve gone through 35 pounds of waffle mix. They’re so much better than a bought waffle cone.”
Though Abner’s Cabin will operate seasonally, Ough said, she plans to stay scooping as long as weather and pandemic-related conditions permit.
“If the weather holds, I’d love to try to stay open,” she said. “This has gone very well, for us opening by the seat of our pants, and it’s nice for locals to be able to come out and have somewhere to go, especially with all the craziness (around the spread of COVID-19). There’s a walk-up window, people can sit in their cars and we’ve been crazy about keeping stuff clean.”
Ough said she hopes to build on this season’s momentum.
“I’m planning to have two more units next year,” she said. “I have purchased the B Brewed (food) truck that used to be here, and that’s going to be for burgers and hand-cut fries and paninis. And I’m getting a taco trailer, so it’ll be three mobile units here and it’ll be awesome.”
Abner’s Cabin is open from noon to 8 p.m., Thursday through Sunday. Hours may be adjusted, Ough said, as she enters the fall season. Abner’s Cabin accepts cash and credit cards.
For more information, find “Abner’s Cabin” on Facebook or follow @abnerscabin on Instagram.